A new hardware and smartphone app combo launched at CES turns your handset into a satellite communicator, allowing you to send messages and GPS coordinates from virtually anywhere on the planet, even when you’re out of reach of a mobile network.
The Spot Connect, one of this year's CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award winners, is a 3in x 2.6in x 1.2in gadget that connects with a downloadable application on Google Android smartphones via Bluetooth.
It's designed for adventurous types who need to stay in touch with friends and family, and want the safety net of an SOS tool allowing them to contact emergency services if they run into trouble. The SOS function notifies the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center (IERCC) of the handset's location every five minutes.
In addition to the SOS feature, Spot Connect helps users update social networking sites in near real time, right from the scene of the action. The Type & Send feature allows Facebook and Twitter addicts to create short custom messages, which can then be sent to social networking sites, or to specific contacts via email or text message.
It's not cheap however. Launching first in the US, the Spot Connect hardware costs $150, while an annual subscription is $100.
It's available initially for Google Android phones, although an Apple iPhone app will launch later this year.